October 17, 2014

USA: Ebola Is Scary; This Virus That Has Paralyzed And Killed Children Is Scarier

In less than a week from this published article. Statistic UPDATE as of 10/17/2014: The United States is currently experiencing a nationwide outbreak of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) associated with severe respiratory illness. From mid-August to October 17, 2014, CDC or state public health laboratories have confirmed a total of 825 people in 46 states and the District of Columbia with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. [source: CDC.gov]

written by Angela Moore
Saturday October 11, 2014

As Americans watch the Ebola story unfold in across the globe, many are unaware of a threat far closer to home — and more contagious.

Enterovirus D68, a respiratory illness, has been making its way across the country since August, and has been diagnosed in nearly 600 people, in 43 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly all the confirmed cases this year of EV-D68 infection have been in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The enterovirus, also known as EV-D68, can only be diagnosed through specific lab tests often administered only by government health departments. There isn’t an antiviral medication available for people who are infected with EV-D68, the CDC says.

The symptoms of EV-D68 include achy limbs and muscles, fever, runny nose, sneezing and coughing — much like a common cold. Almost all of the confirmed cases of EV-D68 are in children — and the CDC is looking into the deaths of four patients in whom EV-D68 had been detected. Earlier this week, the CDC confirmed that the death of a nearly asymptomatic 4-year-old New Jersey boy last month was from the virus, making him the first person whose death was directly linked to EV-D68. In the other deaths, it’s not clear what role the virus played, the CDC said.

The CDC is also looking into a connection between EV-D68 and child paralysis, after a dozen Colorado children were treated for paralysis-like symptoms.

Ebola, while deadly and frightening, is relatively hard to spread. It’s transmitted mainly by exchanging bodily fluids with a person who is sick with Ebola, or through contaminated syringes.

On the other hand, you can catch EV-D68 if an infected person coughs or sneezes near you or if you touch a surface that an infected person has touched.

Generally speaking, the most susceptible to enteroviruses are babies, children and teens because they lack adult immunity. Kids with asthma are at a higher risk for the respiratory illness caused by EV-D68.

Infections are expected to wane as the fall progresses, but, in the meantime, the CDC advises people to take these precautions:

•Wash hands often with soap and water.
•Don’t touch eyes, nose and mouth with dirty hands.
•Don’t hug, kiss or share utensils and cups with sick people.
•Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.
•Disinfect surfaces that are touched often, like doorknobs, keyboards and toys.
•If you are sick, stay home.


[source: The Washington Post 10/13/2014] Michigan toddler dies after becoming infected with Enterovirus68.

[source: Yahoo news 10/5/2014] New Jersey boy's death is first linked directly to Enterovirus68, after showing no signs.

[source: The Washington Post 10/1/2014] Rhode Island child dies of infection associated with rare respiratory virus aka Enterovirus68.

Mohave Daily News
written by AP staff
Saturday October 4, 2014

Four people who were infected with a virus causing severe respiratory illness across the country have died, but what role the virus played in the deaths is unclear, health officials said.

A 10-year-old Rhode Island girl died last week after suffering both a bacterial infection and infection from enterovirus 68, Rhode Island health officials said. The virus is behind a spike in harsh respiratory illnesses in children since early August.

The virus was also found in three other patients who died in September, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC declined to release any other details about those deaths.

It’s not clear what role the virus may have played in the four deaths, officials from Rhode Island and the CDC said.

The Rhode Island child’s death was the result of a bacterial infection, Staphylococcus aureus, that hit the girl in tandem with the virus, Rhode Island officials said in a statement.

They called it “a very rare combination,” and stressed that most people who catch the virus experience little more than a runny nose and low-grade fever.

The child was in good health before she developed severe breathing problems and her parents called 911, said Dr. Michael Fine, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health.

She was taken by ambulance to a Providence hospital, where she died.

“Very quickly after they got to the hospital, things became dire,” Fine said at a news conference.

Cumberland Schools Supt. Philip Thornton said in an email to the school community that school leaders were “misinformed” by the Health Department when they told last week in “straight and clear terms” that their student did not have the enterovirus.

Health Department spokeswoman Christina Batastini said health officials would not have told the school that because they did not have the test results until this week.

This enterovirus germ is not new. It was first identified in 1962 and has caused clusters of illness before. Because it’s not routinely tested for, it may have spread widely in previous years without being identified in people who just seemed to have a cold.

This year, the virus has gotten more attention because it has been linked to hundreds of severe illnesses. Beginning last month, hospitals in Kansas City, Mo., and Chicago have received a flood of children with trouble breathing. Some needed oxygen or more extreme care such as a breathing machine. Many, but not all, had asthma before the infection.

Health officials said they have not detected a recent mutation or other change in the virus that would cause it to become more dangerous.

Enterovirus 68 has sickened at least 500 people in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Almost all have been children.
The virus can cause mild to severe illness. The strain isn’t new but it’s rarely seen.

Health officials are also investigating whether the virus played a role in a cluster of 10 Denver-area children who have suffered muscle weakness and paralysis.

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